In late 1980s, when times were fun, technology was changing, clothes were Rad and girls were Bad; there was one thing that didn’t change, traditions. Delta Pi, a long-lasting sorority institution in the heart of Tampa, Florida, keeps that tradition “alive”…until late 1986 Spring Break when a serial killer was just coming to light.
Being English, my knowledge of sorority and fraternity culture is gathered through my exposure to the silver screen. Now, if I was to take films like Van Wilder, Animal House and Bad Neighbors (or just simply Neighbors to those outside for Australia) on face value, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t, it appears that in a frathouse, a large amount of partying can be achieved, even whilst you’re under double, triple, quadruple probation and Seth Rogen is trying to kill your buzz.
It’s your sororities that seem to have the bigger issues. If we argue that the likes of The House on Sorority Row, Scream 2 and Black Christmas as fact, and again I don’t see evidence to say I can’t, then you spend a lot of time working on calculus, hazing and running for your life from a knife-wielding maniac. It honestly seems like a lot to go through for the honor of wearing a hoody with some Greek letters on it.
Does the latest film from Sean Donohue (Joe Vampire) and Christopher Leto (The Housewife Slasher) do anything to waylay the fears stirred up by the above? With a title like Die Die Delta Pi, what do you think?
Written by Arturo Portillo, this love letter to slashers of yore, starts conveniently enough in the 80s. It’s Spring Break and sorority house Delta Pi is holding their yearly bonfire and burning of the House Mother. Or at least, a plywood scarecrow that looks like their House Mother. It’s all good, clean, alcohol soaked, Guy Fawkes inspired fun. However, the party comes to an abrupt end, when a prank led by the Queen Bitch of Delta Pi, Donna Parker (Bianca Allaine Kyne), results in one of their number being fatally burnt.
And if that wasn’t enough for one sorority to handle, their House Mother has snapped and begun eviscerating her way through anyone that dares to be an affront towards her moral code. And that is just what happens in the, admittedly long, opening sting to this slasher. We haven’t got to the meat of the film.
Fast forward nearly 30 years later and Donna, now played by Andrea Alfonso, is returning to her old college to drop off her daughter, Diana (Kristen Avery). Is it merely a coincidence then when someone begins to the stalk the college’s halls and lecture rooms? Or has the past come to bite Donna on the ass? Come night time, is anyone going to be safe? Or left in one piece?
By now, it’ll be fairly evident to most of you reading that Die Die Delta Pi is not trying to reinvent the wheel. Aside from being set in the present day, this is standard slasher fare served up by a group of people who clearly enjoyed themselves during the entire production. Everything synonymous with the genre is here; cheesy dialogue, overwrought exposition, nudity (frequent and irrelevant to the plot) and some fairly gory takedowns. It wants to be your go-to party movie and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Not every film needs to be a multi-layered tome of high suspense.
However, Die Die Delta Pi does have suffer from a distinct lack of scares; Seemingly more concerned with acknowledging the blood-soaked celluloid that came before it then actually wanting you to jump out of your seat. And if I were to be really honest, the performances on display are not all born equal, ranging from passable to ‘hold the script up behind the camera so I can read off of it’.
However, at less than 80 minutes long, Die Die Delta Pi is the kind of non-committal horror some people will lap up due to its puppy dog desire to please its audience. It’s an example of the kind of feature you can sandwich between others during a binge watch with friends. In summary, an untaxing affair that wears its heart on its sleeve.